VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/21/13)—A massive tornado tore through Moore, Okla., and surrounding suburbs of Oklahoma City on Monday, damaging homes, businesses and elementary schools. American Baptists are joining with others to respond to this disaster. Church World Service has issued an appeal, and $5,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) domestic emergency disaster-relief funds have been released in response to the appeal.
Victoria Goff, national coordinator for volunteer ministries, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), continues to monitor the situation and is in communication with local partners.
John Williams, executive minister of American Baptist Churches of the Central Region, reports that no American Baptist churches are in affected areas. Two Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches in Oklahoma City and another in Norman, Okla., may need assistance.
“Our hearts go out to the members of the Moore community who have experienced such a devastating loss of life as their town was struck by a ferocious tornado. We pray especially for those families who lost their children in this tragedy,” says the Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). “Already, our American Baptist churches are joining with others to organize relief efforts. Our hands follow our hearts in reaching out in solidarity with those who have lost so much. May they find comfort and strength in the love and support of others.”
Adds ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III: “Our hearts are heavy with sadness and grief for the victims of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. While our first instinct is to ask, ‘Why?’, perhaps the next question that comes to mind is more important: ‘How?’ American Baptists consistently answer that question over and over again in the same way. We will respond with compassion. We will respond with our prayers, our resources and with our volunteer efforts to help the people of Moore on their journey toward wholeness. Already, our Volunteer Ministries and Disaster Relief programs are mobilizing to put American Baptist compassion into constructive and long-term action.”
Your gifts designated to “OGHS Oklahoma Tornadoes” will help affected areas at this time. To make a donation, visit www.abc-usa.org and click “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS Oklahoma Tornadoes.”
OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.